Chapter 95 - Pleasure and Happiness
Questioner: A friend of mine, a young man about twenty-five, was told that he is suffering from an incurable heart disease. He wrote to me that instead of slow death he preferred suicide. I replied to him that a disease incurable by Western medicine may be cured in some other way. There are yogic powers that can bring almost instantaneous changes in the human body. Effects of repeated fasting also verge on the miraculous. I wrote to him not to be in a hurry to die; rather to give a trial to other approaches.
There is aYogi living not far from Bombay who possesses some miraculous powers. He has specialised in the control of the vital forces governing the body. I met some of his disciples and sent through to theYogi my friend’s letter and photo. Let us see what happens.
Maharaj: Yes, miracles often take place. But there must be the will to live. Without it the miracles will not happen.
Q: Can such a desire be instilled?
M:Superficial desire, yes. But it will wear out. Fundamentally, nobody can compel another to live. Besides, there were cultures in which suicide had its acknowledged and respected place.
Q: Is it not obligatory to live out one’s natural span of life?
M:Natural -- spontaneously -- easy -- yes. But disease and suffering are not natural. There is noble virtue in unshakable endurance of whatever comes, but there is also dignity in the refusal of meaningless torture and humiliation.
Q: I was given a book written by a siddha. He describes in it many of his strange, even amazing experiences. According to him the way of a true sadhaka ends with his meeting his Guru and surrendering to him body, mind and heart. Henceforth the Guru takes over and becomes responsible for even the least event in the disciple’s life, until the two become one. One may call it realisation through identification. The disciple is taken over by a power he cannot control, nor resist, and feels as helpless as a leaf in the storm. The only thing that keeps him safe from madness and death is his faith in the love and power of his Guru.
M:Every teacher teaches according to his own experience. Experience is shaped by belief and belief is shaped by experience. Even the Guru is shaped by the disciple to his own image. It is the disciple that makes the Guru great. Once the Guru is seen to be the agent of a liberating power, which works both from within and without, whole-hearted surrender becomes natural and easy. Just as a man gripped by pain puts himself completely in the hands of a surgeon, so does the disciple entrust himself without reservation to his Guru. It is quite natural to seek help when its need is felt acutely. But, however powerful the Guru may be, he should not impose his will on the disciple. On the other hand, a disciple that distrusts and hesitates is bound to remain unfulfilled for no fault of his Guru.
Q: What happens then?
M:Life teaches, where all else fails. But the lessons of life take a long time to come. Much delay and trouble is saved by trusting and obeying. But such trust comes only when indifference and restlessness give place to clarity and peace. A man who keeps himself in low esteem, will not be able to trust himself, nor anybody else. Therefore, in the beginning the teacher tries his best to reassure the disciple as to his high origin, noble nature and glorious destiny. He relates to him the experiences of some saints as well as his own, instilling confidence in himself and in his infinite possibilities. When self-confidence and trust in the teacher come together, rapid and far-going changes in the disciple’s character and life can take place.
Q: I may not want to change. My life is good enough as it is.
M:You say so because you have not seen how painful is the life you live. You are like a child sleeping with a lollypop in its mouth. You may feel happy for a moment by being totally self-centred, but it is enough to have a good look at human faces to perceive the universality of suffering. Even your own happiness is so vulnerable and short-lived, at the mercy of a bank-crash, or a stomach ulcer. It is just a moment of respite, a mere gap between two sorrows. Real happiness is not vulnerable, because it does not depend on circumstances.
Q: Are you talking from your own experience? Are you too unhappy?
M:I have no personal problems. But the world is full of living beings whose lives are squeezed between fear and craving. They are like cattle driven to the slaughter house, jumping and frisking, carefree and happy, yet dead and skinned within an hour.
You say you are happy. Are you really happy, or are you merely trying to convince yourself. Look at yourself fearlessly and you will at once realise that your happiness depends on conditions and circumstances, hence it is momentary, not real. Real happiness flows from within.
Q: Of what use is your happiness to me? It does not make me happy.
M:You can have the whole of it and more for the mere asking. But you do not ask; you don’t seem to want.
Q: Why do you say so? I do want to be happy.
M:You are quite satisfied with pleasures. There is no place for happiness. Empty your cup and clean it. It cannot be filled otherwise. Others can give you pleasure, but never happiness.
Q: A chain of pleasurable events is good enough.
M:Soon it ends in pain, if not in disaster. What isYoga after all, but seeking lasting happiness within?
Q: You can speak only for the East. In the West the conditions are different and what you say does not apply.
M:There is no East and West in sorrow and fear. The problem is universal -- suffering and the ending of suffering. The cause of suffering is dependence and independence is the remedy. Yoga is the science and the art of self-liberation through self-understanding.
Q: I do not think I am fit forYoga.
M:What else are you fit for? All your going and coming, seeking pleasure, loving and hating -- all this shows that you struggle against limitations, self-imposed or accepted. In your ignorance you make mistakes and cause pain to yourself and others, but the urge is there and shall not be denied. The same urge that seeks birth, happiness and death shall seek understanding and liberation. It is like a spark of fire in a cargo of cotton. You may not know about it, but sooner or later the ship will burst in flames. Liberation is a natural process and in the long run, inevitable. But it is within your power to bring it into the now.
Q: Then why are so few liberated people in the world?
M:In a forest only some of the trees are in full bloom at a given moment, yet every one will have its turn.
Sooner or later your physical and mental resources will come to an end. What will you do then? Despair? All right, despair. You will get tired of despairing and begin to question. At that moment you will be fit for consciousYoga.
Q: I find all this seeking and brooding most unnatural.
M:Yours is the naturalness of a born cripple. You may be unaware but it does not make you normal. What it means to be natural or normal you do not know, nor do you know that you do not know.
At present you are drifting and therefore in danger, for to a drifter any moment anything may happen. It would be better to wake up and see your situation. That you are -- you know. What you are -- you don't know. Find out what you are.
Q: Why is there so much suffering in the world?
M:Selfishness is the cause of suffering. There is no other cause.
Q: I understood that suffering is inherent in limitation.
M:Differences and distinctions are not the causes of sorrow. Unity in diversity is natural and good. It is only with separateness and self-seeking that real suffering appears in the world.
Chapter1 - Foreword
Chapter2 - Who is Nisargadatta Maharaj?
Chapter3 - Translators Note
Chapter4 - Editors Note
Chapter5 - The Sense of ‘I am’
Chapter6 - Obsession with the body
Chapter7 - The Living Present
Chapter8 - Real World is Beyond the Mind
Chapter9 - What is Born must Die
Chapter10 - Meditation
Chapter11 - The Mind
Chapter12 - The Self Stands Beyond Mind
Chapter13 - Responses of Memory
Chapter14 - Witnessing
Chapter15 - Awareness and Consciousness
Chapter16 - The Person is not Reality
Chapter17 - The Supreme, the Mind and the Body
Chapter18 - Appearances and the Reality
Chapter19 - The Jnani
Chapter20 - Desirelessness, the Highest Bliss
Chapter21 - The Ever-Present
Chapter22 - To Know What you Are, Find What you Are Not
Chapter23 - Reality lies in Objectivity
Chapter24 - The Supreme is Beyond All
Chapter25 - Who am I?
Chapter26 - Life is Love and Love is Life
Chapter27 - Discrimination leads to Detachment
Chapter28 - God is the All-doer, the Jnani a Non-doer
Chapter29 - Hold on to ‘I am’
Chapter30 - Personality, an Obstacle
Chapter31 - The Beginningless Begins Forever
Chapter32 - All Suffering is Born of Desire
Chapter33 - Living is Life’s only Purpose
Chapter34 - You are Free NOW
Chapter35 - Do not Undervalue Attention
Chapter36 - Life is the Supreme Guru
Chapter37 - Everything Happens by Itself
Chapter38 - Mind is restlessness Itself
Chapter39 - Greatest Guru is Your Inner Self
Chapter40 - Killing Hurts the Killer, not the Killed
Chapter41 - Beyond Pain and Pleasure there is Bliss
Chapter42 - Spiritual Practice is Will Asserted and Re-asserted
Chapter43 - By Itself Nothing has Existence
Chapter44 - Only the Self is Real
Chapter45 - Develop the Witness Attitude
Chapter46 - Reality can not be Expressed
Chapter47 - Ignorance can be Recognised, not Jnana
Chapter48 - &39;I am&39; is True, all else is Inference
Chapter49 - What Comes and Goes has no Being
Chapter50 - Awareness of Being is Bliss
Chapter51 - Watch Your Mind
Chapter52 - Awareness is Free
Chapter53 - Mind Causes Insecurity
Chapter54 - Self-awareness is the Witness
Chapter55 - Be Indifferent to Pain and Pleasure
Chapter56 - Being Happy, Making Happy is the Rhythm of Life
Chapter57 - Desires Fulfilled, Breed More Desires
Chapter58 - Body and Mind are Symptoms of Ignorance
Chapter59 - Give up All and You Gain All
Chapter60 - Consciousness Arising, World Arises
Chapter61 - Beyond Mind there is no Suffering
Chapter62 - Perfection, Destiny of All
Chapter63 - Desire and Fear: Self-centred States
Chapter64 - Live Facts, not Fancies
Chapter65 - Matter is Consciousness Itself
Chapter66 - In the Supreme the Witness Appears
Chapter67 - Notion of Doership is Bondage
Chapter68 - Whatever pleases you, Keeps you Back
Chapter69 - A Quiet Mind is All You Need
Chapter70 - All Search for Happiness is Misery
Chapter71 - Experience is not the Real Thing
Chapter72 - Seek the Source of Consciousness
Chapter73 - Transiency is Proof of Unreality
Chapter74 - God is the End of All Desire and Knowledge
Chapter75 - In Self-awareness you Learn about Yourself
Chapter76 - What is Pure, Unalloyed, Unattached is Real
Chapter77 - Death of the Mind is Birth of Wisdom
Chapter78 - Truth is Here and Now
Chapter79 - In Peace and Silence you Grow
Chapter80 - To Know that You do not Know, is True Knowledge
Chapter81 - &39;I&39; and &39;Mine&39; are False Ideas
Chapter82 - All Knowledge is Ignorance
Chapter83 - Person, Witness and the Supreme
Chapter84 - Awareness
Chapter85 - Root Cause of Fear
Chapter86 - Absolute Perfection is Here and Now
Chapter87 - The True Guru
Chapter88 - Your Goal is Your Guru
Chapter89 - ‘I am’: The Foundation of all Experience
Chapter90 - The Unknown is the Home of the Real
Chapter91 - Keep the Mind Silent and You shall Discover
Chapter92 - Knowledge by the Mind, is not True Knowledge
Chapter93 - Progress in Spiritual Life
Chapter94 - Surrender to Your Own Self
Chapter95 - Pleasure and Happiness
Chapter96 - Go Beyond the l-am-the-body Idea
Chapter97 - Man is not the Doer
Chapter98 - You are Beyond Space and Time
Chapter99 - Accept Life as it Comes
Chapter100 - Abandon Memories and Expectations
Chapter101 - Mind and the World are not Separate
Chapter102 - Freedom from Self-identification
Chapter103 - The Perceived can not be the Perceiver
Chapter104 - Understanding leads to Freedom
Chapter105 - Jnani does not Grasp, nor Hold
Chapter106 - Appendix-1: Nisarga Yoga
Chapter107 - Appendix-2: Navnath Sampradaya